Bronze Age Minoan culture is, I think, where I got started.

A new thing, looking up words and writing them down in un cahier.* So,

spe•cious spē′shəs►

  • adj.Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious.
  • adj.Deceptively appealing.
  • Pleasing to the eye; externally fair or showy; appearing beautiful or charming; sightly; beautiful.

Why???? Oh why any of this shit, but here and now, it’s in reference to an article regarding the stupidest senator, Ron Johnson (Rethug, WI), and how he couldn’t be arsed to read the infrastructure bill because “adding to the deficit” (256 billion?), as opposed to that tax reform bill he did for his buddy the former guy that added 2 fucking trillion to the deficit. Also “blahblahblah partisan Covid relief bill” motherfucking anti-vaxx superspreader guy.

A dear friend and I were talking despair and how we just can’t do this shit any more, “do this shit” meaning treating other humans like they’re reasonable people when obviously a big fucking chunk of them are psychos.

And yeah, they probably aren’t psychos, just very afraid of this weird fucking invisible threat and blaming it on Fauci or public health nurses or whatever because it is easier to give an existential threat a human cause because that means it is something that humans can arm-wrestle or something. And fucking hell, I didn’t think being a reasonable human being would mark me out as special or I would have highlighted it on my resume more often.

I email Ron Johnson regularly, ending them all with “resign in disgrace, Russia Ron.” But I suspect (oh, here’s where the “reasonable person” facade slips) that my emails no longer go through because I don’t have to arse around with Captcha** any more. I don’t dare call, well I do dare, just not when child is around and also because evil bad words – you know, like stupid motherfucker – will slip out and I don’t want the FBI showing up at my door. So now, do I accept the fact that my emails mean nothing, are just a sham/placebo/sugar pill, to help me feel like I have control over my existence? Or do I move on to the hard stuff – I mean stationery, good paper, embossed notecards, or do I spend my fancy postcards? I don’t want them to have nice things, but maybe I could sneak past their ideological defenses with pretty pictures of flowers.

*okay explanation I just finished The Secret History by psycho in chief Donna Tartt, and now I’m being all pretentious and shit. Okay, now I have to look up “pretentious.”

**Captcha uses those horrible pictures with no people ever because we are helping train google image recognition? Or some other probable conspiracy theory. Everything is now a conspiracy, except flowers. Well no, they conspire to get bees. So, conspiracy theories are just examples of symbiosis? Oh shit, I’d better go lie down for a bit.

Perseid meteor showers last night, best viewing around midnight. So I finished the dishes and some other putzing, and went out to sit in the alley. It occurred to me that I had no idea what direction they would be coming from, so I sat in my folding chair and tipped my head way back.

And there was the Milky Way. I hadn’t seen it for years – years. The whole thing about looking at the Milky Way, looking into our galaxy, struck me so hard last night, a little speck on the farther arm of a vortex of stars. And opposite the Way?

I looked at the stars, too, and realized I am no longer familiar with them, you could put me anywhere on the planet and I would just see random dots in the sky. I need to change this. And last night was glorious for stargazing, cool, no breeze, hugging oneself loosely in a thin sweater, cars only a hum from out on the highway.

Anyway. More about the sky. A friend and I have been passing quotations from books back and forth. She hit me with some major Plath last night, so I retaliated with a few lines from this poem;


Kenneth Patchen

from here;

This “thing” I have with Moby Dick, is a thing, reactivated by – well, specifically by Three Guineas, by V. Woolf. It was a line of alliteration, a paragraph of echoing sounds, and I am a fool for that. zomg I am so far off course here.

But alliteration brings me back to the steak scene, where Stubbs cajols the cook into speaking a sermon to the sharks, with their splashing and slapping. I’m probably wrong to love Melville’s writing so much; others have foundered on that shoal before me. (Is that an accurate metaphor?) Melville is all about morality and God, probably.

Caspar Friedrich, painter, romantic, same era.

Anyway. On to Melville. Stubbs, first mate? runs one of the whaling boats they put out. He has many interesting things to say. The occasion here is that Stubbs has woken the cook to prepare a whale steak at midnight. The cook is put out; I don’t know why Stubbs is jollying him on, asking for a sermon for the sharks. The sermon as delivered by the cook, Fleece.

“. . . but if you govern the shark in you, why then you will be an angel.” No, wait, more important- “and when they do get full, they won’t hear you; for then they sink in the sea and sleep on the coral, forever and ever.” Is this hell, cold and dark and silent?

I think I am secretly very something. Possibly religious.

Anyway. You can read Moby Dick free, downloaded from The Project Gutenberg, here. The secret is, you don’t need to read the whole thing. The book is like a hall with many doors. The hall is the basic story; I won’t present any spoilers, but probably don’t need to. You can go down the hall and open the doors. If what’s inside looks interesting, go on in. If not, go to the next one. And yes, there is a certain amount of gruesomeness; Romantic era, remember? As a writing teacher once said, you need to enter the world the writer is creating, without judgment. Of course she also said she wouldn’t read Moby Dick because gruesome.

Choose your own adventure. In the end, you’ll be . . .

Also Uganda, also Flagstaff Arizona.

Twitter thread;

What somebody said;

And here I spent all those years worrying about nuclear holocaust. I could have built a pretty nice raft by now.

I don’t have anything to say about that, except yes global climate change and existential despair. At the time of writing, at least 67 people have been killed by the floods. Killed by the weather, folks. So, to scale this disaster for myself, I googled “size of Germany and Belgium compared to the United States,” and found this cool thingie – Country Size Comparison.

Belgium is tiny! We’ve had flooding up here in Northern Wisconsin recently; a couple of “100 year” storms. I think it was 2016 when you couldn’t get there from here except by going 60 miles the other way first. But I don’t think anyone died. Maybe they weren’t such a sudden downburst. I was in Minneapolis when there was something like 10 inches of rain in an hour or two. I know that at least one person died. He had been protesting to the city about the insufficiency of the storm sewers. The rain on that day stressed his basement walls, one of which collapsed on him.*

So yeah, 67 people in an area the size of Wisconsin and Illinois, roughly. Roads and highways, houses washed away. Coming soon to a town near you.

Damn, I’m cheerful.

That bike that I sketched so poorly? I have made something like six separate sketches of it, before and since. I might not have a good drawing of it, but I know roughly where all the pieces go, which is what drawing is about; seeing. Now I have to draw it from the other side.

*We could talk about that some day, being a photographer sometimes leads you into people’s lives, and that loop into another person’s story, well . . . I printed some photos for a guy, well, really his wife, that he’d taken in Viet Nam. I sat at his kitchen table in Richfield while he looked through them, and talked about them. I think I have copies of the photos, the ones that didn’t print well first try. Man, I’m sorry you had to do that.

Which reminds me; I got a possible address for a friend of my oldest brother, who went to Viet Nam in the Coast Guard, thought he’d be safe, was a photographer on a boat, ran river patrols up and down country, told us stories one night; new guy fired a large round of something into the trees, it hit one of the trees and bounced back at them. I got a possible address from a library in San Diego, I should send him a note. Yes, bring those people home. No, there is no good answer.

Bonus: this is so – I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out what plane that front tire exists in, and working on ellipses, and omg this really is terrible. The one I started this morning is better, but what’s with that front tire? Shadows. It needs shadows. And probably burning. I like the bike seat. That’s okay.

Photo is from a CNN article on what will change/stay the same after the pandemic.

Historical clothing + pandemic. Pinafores! A style I should adopt, what with all the spilling of things. Boots! At first I thought they were all wearing cowboy bootsI bet the girl in front is wearing her mother’s shoes. And the boy second from the left in the second row? Hunting boots? And I bet it’s easier to keep track of who is actively disobeying when all the little birds are lined up to gargle. And boys’ shorts and girls’ skirts all 3-5 inches above the knee. Who else thinks this look should come back? Good grief, are all the boys wearing neckties? Things have changed.

I learned a lot, even about Shostakovich – who I really only know about because of his? my? association with Rostropovich, the cellist. Which is probably filed away somewhere in YouTube’s monitoring of my habits. It was funny; she had her prepared remarks, and he would periodically say something that didn’t quite line up with what she had said, and then there would be a sort of shuffle to get back on track. It’s really fun to listen to people who Know Stuff.

And if an hour of talking about a 20th C. composer doesn’t do it for you, there are Other Free Lectures, here:

Gresham College

Otherwise, it’s hot – but not as hot as other places, and windy, red flag fire warnings. (I should maybe pack a bag.)

The new shiboleth! Mask-wearing. We went to a local farm supply place. We wore masks. A remarkable amount of stuffiness and cold-shouldering and possible checking us out to see if we were shoplifting. Weird, what sets people off. I’m glad I didn’t have a big purse with me. I’ll think twice about going back there. It’s not like I went there a lot anyway.